Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Sunday, May 29, 2011


This little boy...


said "Mama" today. For the first time ever.
And it melted my heart.

We were swimming at my aunt's pool today and just all of a sudden, he said, "Mmmaamma." I paused, then looked around, asked if anyone else heard it (and yes, my brother-in-law Jason heard it loud and clear), and then he said it AGAIN!

"Maaa Ma!"

Looking right at me!

And I was like ohmygoodness, ohmygoodness, ohmygoodness.

And then I was like, "EVERYBODY LISTEN!!!"

And I said, "Who do you love???" because that is the question I've been asking him for months, trying to get him to say my name afterwards.
And sure enough...

"Mmmaama... Mmaaammaa... Maamaa!"

And then everyone cheered and jumped up and down and said, "YAY SAMBO!!!"

And I jumped out of the pool so that I could get my camera and video him doing it, because, I mean, this is like, hugely monumental. And he did sort of do it on the video but not near as well as he did at first.

It was a magical moment.

I love him so.
blessed signature

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Sorry, Sambo...

Your mother FORGOT to do an 11-month update. And you'll be ONE next week! Agh!

(Thanks to all you mommas that have done your monthly updates this week; it reminded me of this!)

At 11 months, Sam...
-Weighs 21-ish pounds and is long. Long long long. Well, his legs aren't long. But his head is long and his torso is long. Making it difficult for him to become the mobile baby that I would like him to be. More on that in a sec.
-Weighs too much not to be a mobile baby. My shoulders hurt.
-Loves eating, reading books, playing in his exersaucer/walker, swinging, drinking bottles, watching his sister in all her shenanigans, and riding in the car.
-Says the following words: --------
-Makes the following sounds: Da-Da, Ba-ba, I-duuuuhhh (trying to teach him to say "I do" when I ask if he wants to do something, and this is how it sounds), Na-na-na
-Recognizes the following words when we say them: Bah-bah (bottle), bath, water, bang-bang, splash, Daddy, Mama, night-night, bite-bites, puff, Lucy, up, play
-Has an undeniably hilarious toothy underbite grin.
-Has dramatically perfected his pouty face and sad lip. It's so pitiful.
-Has the longest, prettiest eyelashes of any boy I've seen at his age.
-Has the fattest, chubbiest feet of any boy I've seen at his age.
-Refuses to drink out of a sippy cup. Maybe a few sips, but that's it.
-Has 2 bottom teeth. Waiting for the others to make their appearance.
-Still has an obsession with hair. If he's upset, hair will calm him down. I can literally take a single hair out of my head and hand it to him, he'll grasp it and suck his thumb at the same time and be the happiest baby on the block. He usually sleeps with one of Mary Ella's dolls or one of her McDonalds Happy Meal barbies. Holds the hair all night long. Crazy, I know.

Firsts this month:

-Attended his first wedding.
-Swam in our neighborhood pool!
-Ate mac & cheese, waffles with syrup, and spaghetti. Loved them all.
-Began saying "I duuuuuhhh" in response to questions. Most of the time it's "I duh-dooooo."
-Started on whole milk; still mixing it with formula right now.
-Got his first pair of Crocs. They are the only shoes that will fit on his fat little feet.
-Cheered his cousin Brooks on to a first place victory in the little league baseball tournament.



-We're working on learning to crawl. Biggest challenge is holding his head up while we crawl. He tends to want to just hang his head; but thankfully it's mostly out of stubbornness and not a strength issue.
-We're working on pulling up to standing from a sitting position. He tends to lock his legs in place (straight) while standing and needs to learn to bend them in order to sit back down and eventually take steps.
-We LOVE our Chantel (our physical therapist!) She comes every 2 weeks. Sam gives her fits and is making mostly F's with some occasional E's for effort. (No, just kidding; he does pretty good for her.)
-We joke that if he were in speech therapy he'd be making straight A's because he can pretty much mimic, or try to mimic, any sound that comes out of our mouths.


-FOODS: graham crackers, teething biscuits, yogurt melts, puffs, cheerios, mac & cheese, cheetos, cheese balls, popsicles, spaghetti, waffles, apples, pears, yogurt
-TOYS: stacker rings, his Playskool gears toy, any teething toy, his vibrating teether, anything that rattles, anything that he can bang on, spoons, our iPad.
-APPS: (every baby has favorite apps, right?) Peekaboo Baby, Aquarium, Lullaby Lamb
-PEOPLE: Me. You know it's true, Sambo. :)

I love this sweet boy more than anything!


I'll post his one year stats and maybe a few more little tidbits in the next couple weeks! I'm off to the Compound for the holiday weekend, then Sam's little birthday party is next weekend! Still can't believe he's gonna be ONE!

I made his birthday invitations myself this year... here's a sneak peek at our party theme...

Have a blessed Memorial Day weekend!
blessed signature

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Last day of school. Oh, and how to turn a boxed cake mix into an afternoon of fun.


Today was Mary Ella's last day of preschool for this year. Next year she'll start K3! I can't believe it. I battled whether or not to put her in 3 days a week or just 2 days. I had originally signed her up for 3 days but switched it back to 2 after thinking about it. She'll have the rest of her life to go to school, and I enjoy having days where we don't have to be anywhere, so she'll keep going Tuesday and Thursday only.

I made this quick collage on Picnik showing how much she's grown since starting MDO. Crazy!

mary ella school collage

We took zinnias to her teachers and the ladies in the administrative office. I printed these cute tags from SkipToMyLou and glued them to popsicle sticks, then stuck them in the pot with the flowers. They turned out super cute and I was able to get 4 teacher gifts for under $10! Can't beat that.


Here's Mary Ella with her friends Campbell and Elyssa. Their last day!


This smile looks exactly like mine when I was her age.


And on Tuesday afternoon we had our neighbors, Aniston and Griffin, over for some afternoon fun. Since my house was clean for once, I decided we'd mess it up. So we made a cake. A rainbow cake. And THIS, my friends, is fun. And you should try it. It will impress people. I promise. And you will see why in a minute.

(Notice Griffin in an apron that my grandmother made for Chad. It says "What's Burnin?")


I'd seen these rainbow cakes on tons of blogs and always wanted to try it. I happened to have a white cake mix and some food coloring, so I figured we'd apron the kids up and give it a go. They pretty much did everything, from Crisco-ing the pans to coloring the batter to licking the bowls. (Yes, Lindsey, I let them lick the bowls. And the spoons. And the droppings that were left on my kitchen floor.)

All you need is a white cake mix, oil, water, eggs, food coloring (enough so that you can make as many different colors that you want - we had 6) and some icing. We just used one tub of regular vanilla icing and I mixed that with half a tub of cool whip that I had in my fridge, just to make it spread easier and last longer.

It's an easier and faster process if you have:
a) helpers
b) 6 cake pans that are all the same size.

I was lucky enough to have both.

So, you mix up your white cake batter in a large bowl, using the recipe on the box. Then, transfer that batter to 6 different small bowls (I didn't measure, but I'd say maybe a little less than 1 cup of batter per bowl.) Then color those batters 6 different colors. We used pink, orange, blue, green, purple and real-dark-pink. Yellow would've been pretty too.


Make sure your pans are good and greased and sprinkled with flour. Pour your batter into your 6 different pans. You'll have to spread the batter out in the pan with a spoon because it will NOT fill your pan immediately. So spread it til it's touching the edges. These are super thin layers; like pancake-thin.

Now, you need to bake them. And you need to watch them while they are baking because they take NO TIME at all. Like, MAYYYYBE 10 minutes at most. I would say less. But just watch and wait until you see the batter start to look solid; it will start to "back away" from the edges of the cake pan, and that is how you know it is done. You can also use the toothpick method, but these layers are super thin so it's hard to even insert a toothpick into them. But whatever works for you!


(Sorry I don't have pics of the baking process; I was too busy trying to keep little hands away from hot ovens.)

So, take them out of the oven and let them cool. Then use a fork to gently loosen the edges, if needed, and take out one layer at a time and place on your serving dish. Ice the first layer, then stack another on top, and ice that layer, and so on and so on until you have all your colorful layers stacked up. Then ice the whole cake, all over, sides and all.

Your kids will have the best time ever making this and they won't become too impatient because the baking time is super fast! And your FRIENDS will have the best time ever eating it, because they'll think it's just a plain ol' ordinary cake, until you cut it. That's when the magic happens...


You'll hear "oooh's and ahhh's" from across the room. And you'll be like, "Yeah, I know. I'm awesome." Even though you know it's just a plain ol' boxed cake mix. Enjoy the moment. Cause this cake won't last.

And THAT, my friends, is how you turn a box of cake mix into an afternoon of fun. (And an evening of kitchen-cleaning. *Sigh*)

For a prettier (and probably much tastier) version of this infamous cake recipe, go here.

But my recipe is way easier. :)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The littles at the ball park.

We've had fun watching my nephew Brooks play baseball the past year. I took a few pics at the ball park last Saturday. I love these kiddos.


I tried to teach Mary Ella how to do a "shake yo' face" photo. This is how it turned out.


Then I told her it was time to leave. And managed to capture this lovely moment.


We've had lots of these moments during the last year.
Good thing she's cute.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The doctor is in.

Mary Ella was determined to play "doctor" last night with all her doggie friends. So we rounded up the gang and told them it was time for their yearly check ups. They were less than thrilled.

From left to right, we have Clifford, Lucy, Quigley, Contest, Woofin, Goldilocks and Shag. I skipped the one with the heart because he doesn't have a name. And yes, I typed the name "Contest." Mary Ella likes to be real unique when it comes to names. She gets that from me. My first dog's name was Temperature. And my first dolls were Quigley and Infantry. Yep. No lie.

The wait was long because this particular doctor was a bit chatty, so Lucy made herself comfortable.


Finally the doc arrived and Lucy began to tell her about her hurt paw.


From there, we went through the routine examination.


This doctor, like her father, was super talented in the field of robotic surgery. She quickly grabbed one of her DaVinci robotic tools and went to work in attempts to assess the damage.


After a few more tests and procedures (which we won't get into - it was horrible!), we had our diagnosis.


Lucy was a little down, but she took her medicine like a big girl and waited for her bandage to be put on.


Meanwhile, the others waited patiently.


Lucy wasn't a big fan of her new bandage.


Nor was she a fan of me photographing this whole ordeal. "Seriously???"


But we do what we gotta do to help our canine companions, right?
So she'll just have to deal with it for now.


Friday, May 13, 2011

Wedding Weekend. Bliss.

What an unbelievably fantabulous weekend! It was the perfect weekend for my dream wedding. I wish I had been the bride on this beautiful Saturday. Sunset + the compound + family = jackpot. Oh, and add to that some realllllly good food. That's like a super mack daddy jackpot. It was good.

I made my sis get all prettied up on Thursday night so that I could take some pictures of her outside. She doesn't have to do a whole lot to get prettied up, and that makes me a little bit jealous. 


Then I watched Mom, in her signature work visor, finish up the last minute details. And MAN were there some details. My parents are freaking workhorses. They should hire themselves out. 


Here are a few of the details that my parents and Betsy did themselves:

Water bottle labels - ordered on Etsy (assembled by Mom and Bets)


The favors were clear boxes (from Hobby Lobby) full of lemon drops. With these cute tags (by Mom of course.) And hand tied with 3. RIBBONS. EACH. Cause you know we can't have just one cute ribbon. Oh no we can't.


Mom straight up sewed and then appliqued these satin table runners. Yep.


And she straight up made welcome boxes for some of the out of towners that were staying in the nearby hotel.


And straight up carved this statue of Aphrodite out of stone she found in the pasture.


Ok, so she didn't do that. 

But she did make these mason jar votive candle things that hung from all the trees.


You know, just simple stuff like that. Doesn't take talent or creativity or anything.

Seriously, Mom. Why aren't you famous? WHY???

Friday morning we enjoyed a delicious brunch with all the bridesmaids in an even more delicious home. 


Best part: the food. Fresh fruit, spinach quiche, cheese grits, biscuits with home made honey butter, and crispy bacon drizzled with maple syrup. Ahhhhhhh. 


Everything was beautiful and perfect. And the house was amazing! Check out the porch!


And the outside sitting areas:


Betsy and I both agreed that if we lived in this house we'd just lay around and pretend we were on "The Hills." Cause it felt pretty dog gone glamorous. 

All the bridesmaids.


Here are Betsy and Caycee. Caycee lives here in this house on "The Hills." I am jealous.


And Caycee's mom MADE these stained glass windows for her home. By hand. Cause that's really easy to whip up, you know? Just a quick window. 


Check out this master bath:


Gorgeous huh? I love it. Thank you Sadricia for letting me photograph your beautiful home, your wonderful hosting skills, and your handiwork!

We did not stay with my parents on this particular trip to the Compound because my mom, being a teacher, gets a special discount at the Shoals Marriott ever so often, and she generously offered to let us use it for the wedding weekend. We stayed there Friday and Saturday night. It is such a great place! It felt like a little mini vacation. Their pool is awesome and they have a great playground and splash pad too. Chad's brother Jason and my sister in law and their boys stayed there too, so we had fun hanging out with them! 


The water was freezing but I did convince Chad and Mary Ella to try out the water slide. 


Chad was not happy with me afterwards, as this resulted in a case of severe hypothermia. I suggested he go again, and this was his face: "ARE YOU KIDDING ME??!"


But Sam thought it was hilarious.


On Saturday after we got our hair did, I took the kiddos back to the Marriott for a day of play. I also kidnapped Mollie Beth so that she could play with Mary Ella while her mama Maggie ran some errands. They haven't played together since they looked like this…

bedtime with mollie beth

But now that they've both grown some hair and have learned to talk, we decided we'd introduce them again. And I'm so glad we did. They were kinda inseparable.  Mary Ella would boss Mollie Beth around ("Hey Mollie Bay-eth, come over hee-yer") and Mollie Beth would follow right along. I let them splash around in the pool for a while then we decided we'd venture down to the playground and splash pad with my nephews and Addie Jane. The girls didn't care for the splash pad too much but the slides and tunnels suited them just fine. 


This little guy was with us too. 


Oh I love him so. Everything about him.

His chubby rolling thighs and bubbly feet.


His sweet little blonde hair that is ever growing and even getting curly in the back.


This sweet little crooked underbite.


And the fact that it gets even more sideways and crooked when he is trying to talk.


I also love the fact that he thinks I'm the funniest human on the planet. 


And the fact that I can sit him anywhere and come back 30 minutes later and he'll be in the exact same spot. 


God love him, my sweet little Sambo. 

Ok, enough gushing over my cute baby boy.

After the playground Mary Ella and Sam were in dire need of a nap before wedding time, so we headed back up to the room. The girls were hand in hand the entire way. 


And yes, Mollie Beth is without pants. Because her sweet little shorts got wet and she didn't want to wear them wet. So I let her show off her panties in the hotel lobby. And then I apologized for embarrassing her and let her sit out on the balcony and eat a donut while my kids were snoozing away. 


A couple hours later it was GO time! I went out to the Compound early to get ready with the other bridesmaids. Here we are in our monogrammed towels that my sister gave us. Excuse the no-makeup face and falling hairdo. 


Betsy was of course calm, cool and collected and she watched out the window as different people arrived. 


And we all talked about how her arms were looking real skinny and we wished our own arms were as skinny as hers. Then we got over our arm jealousy and put on our makeup and sprayed our hair stiff and strapped on our makemeskinny undergarments before adorning our super cute canary yellow bridesmaid dresses. Sister did great on picking our dresses. Super comfy, great color. And our shoes, praise God, were flats. Oh yes. 

I went outside and tried to take pictures of some of the decor. The wedding took place at my aunt's house on the Compound, which is back behind my parent's house. The ceremony was in the front, here:


And the reception was 'round back, here:


The flower girls were able to greet everyone from the upstairs window before they took their seats for the ceremony.


My grandaddy made these votive candle holders out of trees. 


I give him and his candle holders a thumbs up.


Dad borrowed some golf carts from our friends and my younger cousins drove people from their cars (parked in the field) to the house.


Handsome Charlie (who has been the ring bearer in ALL of the Rutledge kid weddings!  And was perfect in every single one! Go Charlie man!)


And Charlie's beautiful sisters, Annsley and Ann Marie


And just a few more details, if you don't mind:


Like any southern wedding should, we had a sweet tea fountain.


And cake, of course.
Chris' cake was Bama themed; red velvet with houndstooth icing. Yes.


And Betsy's was classic wedding cake with buttercream. Yum-o.


The happy bride and groom. Ready to greet the guests and then high-tail it to DISNEY WORLD! WAHOO!


It was a beautiful wedding and a great time to be with family and friends. Thanks to EVERYONE who came and everyone who helped out in some way or another! You are all appreciated!

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